How to Start a Chinchilla Farm

By eHow Hobbies, Games & Toys Editor

Chinchilla farming in the United States began when a shipment of eleven chinchillas were sent from Chile in an attempt to save them from overtrapping. Today these adorable animals are raised for their plush fur and as household pets.

Shelter chinchillas in either wire cages or cages that have solid bottoms filled with white pine shavings. The cages don't need to be large, as these animals weigh only about 18 to 30 ounces when fully grown. Be sure to put the cage in an area where the humidity is low.

Mount feeders on the side of the cage for cleanliness. Feed the chinchillas two tablespoons of chinchilla pellets daily and supplement with loose hay or hay cubes. You can treat them to small pieces of fruits and certain vegetables two or three times a week.

Breed chinchillas when they are at least 6 months old and 18 ounces of weight. Place the male chinchilla in a breeding unit with four to twelve females, all individually housed. The females must be collared so they won't be able to enter the cages of the other females.

Prepare for active "kits" or baby chinchillas. The gestation period is 111 days, and each litter contains one to five kits. Kits are born with all of their fur and their eyes open, ready to move about immediately.

Plan on two to three litters each year.

Acquire a working knowledge of genetics and chinchilla facts, especially if you are breeding chinchillas for pets. Good temperament is essential since poorly bred chinchillas will bite and spray urine. If these traits appear, cull the animals out of your stock.